Week 23 Fantasy Hockey Planner
With the trade deadline now in the rearview mirror and the Fantasy playoffs now in focus, our Michael Hurcomb puts everything in perspective in his latest Fantasy Hockey Planner.
The Fantasy Hockey Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with top matchups, the latest news and give you the scoop on injured players.
Fantasy Week 23 (March 9-15)
Teams with four games: Boston, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus,
Detroit, Minnesota, N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia,
Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver
Teams with three games: Atlanta, Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Washington
Teams with two games: Anaheim
Editors Note: Projections are for March 9-15 games and all stats are through Thursday
This week's news and notes for each team:
Anaheim Ducks: Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry were among the Ducks' point leaders in February with 11 and 10 respectively, but wedged in there as well was rookie Andrew Ebbett . He had two goals and eight assists in 10 games, while converting 13.6 percent of his shots. He has four goals, 18 assists and a plus-5 rating in 31 games. His emergence gave the team enough confidence in trading Chris Kunitz ... The Ducks host the Canucks and Sharks Week 23. They could potentially face Roberto Lunogo and Evgeni Nabokov , if he is healthy. Perhaps it's not an ideal time to start your Anaheim skaters.
Atlanta Thrashers: Goalie Kari Lehtonen wasn't moved at the trade deadline, so Atlanta is toying with the idea of signing the restricted free agent to a new contract in the offseason. These next few weeks will be crucial as Atlanta chooses between Ondrej Pavelec or Lehtonen as the future in net ... Eric Perrin wanted out of Atlanta at the trade deadline because a lack of top-six time, but he wasn't claimed on waivers. He is still with Atlanta, but could get a chance to prove himself down the stretch ... Ilya Kovalchuk was named the NHL's Player of the Month for February after leading all players with 13 goals and 21 points in 12 games. He added a goal in Tuesday's loss to Colorado, giving him at least one goal in 10 of his past 11 games. Kovalchuk has 35 goals this season ... Colby Armstrong has tied his career-high with 16 goals ... Atlanta hits the road for three games Week 23. Surprisingly, they sit third in road GFA (3.15), so consider starting your Atlanta skaters.
Boston Bruins: Mark Recchi began his Bruins' career on a line with Marc Savard and Phil Kessel Thursday against the Coyotes, but when he couldn't cut the mustard, he was shifted down the third line with Patrice Bergeron and Chuck Kobasew ... Savard has eight assists in the last six games, but hasn't scored a goal in the last 11 ... David Krejci is goal-less in seven games and has one in 13 ... Milan Lucic hoped back in the lineup Thursday after missing two games with an upper-body injury. He has played just 18 games since Jan. 1 due to various injuries ... Boston has four games Week 23. They are in a bit of a tailspin losing 9 of 12 games, but they are set to face three teams -- Pittsburgh, Ottawa and N.Y. Islanders -- in the upcoming scoring period they average 3.33 or more goals against. Consider starting your Boston skaters.
Buffalo Sabres: Thomas Vanek made his much-anticipated return to the lineup Wednesday against the Canadiens after missing nine games with a broken jaw. It appears safe to activate him in all Fantasy formats ... Maxim Afinogenov , who had been out since Jan. 3 with a groin injury, also returned to the lineup against Montreal after Buffalo couldn't trade him ... Despite the acquisition of Mikael Tellqvist at the trade deadline, Sabres general manager Darcy Regier said Ryan Miller (ankle) is still the team's starting goalie when healthy. He is not expected back Week 23, so Patrick Lalime will still likely see the bulk of starts with Tellqvist in a backup role ... Paul Gaustad has three goals in his last four games, but just nine in 44 this season.
Calgary Flames: The Flames' trotted out their new top line Thursday against the Flyers and was it a smash hit. Olli Jokinen , Mike Cammalleri and Jarome Iginla combined for seven points (three goals) in a 5-1 win ... Jordan Leopold was paired with Dion Phaneuf Thursday in his return to the Calgary lineup. Leopold scored against the Flyers and could be in a great situation if he sticks alongside Phaneuf. He also has great chemistry with Robyn Regehr from his first stint with Calgary ... Todd Bertuzzi is back on injured reserve, a place he has been familiar with the last three seasons. The veteran forward is out a month following arthroscopic knee surgery ... 2004 first-round pick Kris Chucko is up with the team and made his debut Thursday. The former Minnesota Golden Gopher has spent the last three seasons in the AHL and has a career-high 20 goals with Quad City this season. He might only get a short stint with Calgary and has minimal Fantasy appeal... Calgary hits the road for games against New Jersey, Detroit and Toronto Week 23. They rank 11th in road GFA (2.83).
Carolina Hurricanes: Scott Walker is back in the lineup after missing 15 games with a concussion ... Jussi Jokinen is on a personal leave following the death of his father. He has been ruled out indefinitely, so keep him reserved in Fantasy until further notice ... Patrick Eaves had a power-play and short-handed goal Tuesday against the Capitals. He has three of his five goals this season in his last four games ... Carolina has a full slate of games Week 23 against the Rangers, Blackhawks, Stars and Capitals. Three of them are on the road where they average 2.85 goals (8th).
|1.||Steve Sullivan , RW, NSH||20|
|2.||Thomas Vanek , LW, BUF||16|
|2.||Martin Gerber , G, TOR||16|
|4.||Mark Recchi , RW, BOS||15|
|5.||Bill Guerin , RW, PIT||14|
|6.||Tomas Kaberle , D, TOR||13|
|7.||Jaroslav Halak , G, MON||12|
|8.||Mikael Tellqvist , G, BUF||12|
|9.||Yann Danis , G, NYI||9|
|10.||Michael Ryder , RW, BOS||8|
Chicago Blackhawks: Already down the likes of Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) and Patrick Sharp (ankle), forward Martin Havlat is also on the mend with a lower-body ailment. The Blackhawks said they should know more about Havlat's status by Tuesday, but that's never good to hear. He is not a recommended start Week 23. It's a real shame Havlat, an injury-prone player, is hurting in the final weeks since he has been a reliable Fantasy option for most of the season ... As for Khabibulin and Sharp, but players could be close to returning, but still are not recommended starts Week 23 ... Patrick Kane has points in 8 of his last 11 games. He has four goals and eight assists in that span. Kane finally appears recovered from an ankle injury that slowed him from late December to mid-February ... Jonathan Toews has points in 11 of his last 13 games. He has 12 goals and six assists in that span. He has finally reached his potential as a high-end Fantasy forward ... The Blackhawks are home for three games Week 23 against the Hurricanes, Blue Jackets and Islanders. They rank sixth in home GFA (3.55). Consider starting your Chicago skaters.
Colorado Avalanche: Colorado picked up an interesting prospect in the trade that sent Jordan Leopold to Calgary -- defenseman Ryan Wilson. The 22-year-old prospect is in his first season of professional hockey after spending the last five years playing juniors. He is labeled as a puck-moving defenseman, but went undrafted. He had four goals and 16 assists in 60 games for Quad City (AHL) before the trade. He might not debut until later this year or in 2009-10, but Wilson is becoming an intriguing prospect ... Paul Stastny has yet to score a goal in five games since he returned from his fractured right forearm. Stastny has taken 11 shots in the slump. He does have three assists and an even plus/minus rating in the five games ... Ryan Smyth has collected at least one point in eight of the last 11 games, totaling seven goals and five assists ... Right wing Milan Hejduk needs six goals to reach the 30-goal plateau for the sixth time in 10 NHL seasons. Hejduk has at least one point in 12 of the last 17 games, with nine goals and nine assists ... Colorado is up for four games Week 23, but against three of their opponents -- Vancouver, Minnesota and Edmonton -- they are averaging 2.50 or fewer goals.
Columbus Blue Jacekts: Fredrik Modin came off injured reserve Thursday against the Predators, but his return only lasted 53 seconds as he re-injured his knee ... Defenseman Rostislav Klesla also came off injured reserve, but was a healthy scratch against Nashville ... New acquisition Antoine Vermette is set to make his Columbus debut Saturday against the Red Wings after clearing up work visa issues ... Manny Malhotra tied his career-high with 31 points on an assist Thursday against the Predators, but he stands to lose a lot with the arrival of Vermette, who is expected to replace Malhotra on the top line in between Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius ... Columbus is going to be run through the gauntlet Week 23 with games against Boston, Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh. They average 2.25 or fewer goals against Detroit, Chicago and Pittsburgh, while Boston owns the best defense in the NHL. Consider benching your Columbus skaters.
Dallas Stars: Jere Lehtinen is back out of action, this time with an upper-body injury. His season didn't start until mid-November because of injury and hasn't played a full season ever in his career. He does have 23 points (eight goals) in 35 games this season. He can be a viable Fantasy option when healthy ... James Neal has three goals in his last two games and 21 on the season. He is now one goal behind NHL rookie leader Bobby Ryan ... Steve Ott had his first goal since Feb. 21 on Thursday against the Kings. It also happened to be a career-best 13th score for Ott, who has six points (two goals) in his last six games ... Mike Ribeiro has managed a point in four of his last five games. He has three goals and four assists in that span.
Detroit Red Wings: Marian Hossa had to be carted off the ice Tuesday against the Blues after taking a hard hit into the boards. Hossa was taken to the hospital as a precaution, but everything checked out fine. He missed Wednesday's game in Colorado because of a sore neck and knee, but it does appear he will avoid a trip to IR. Check his status over the weekend before setting your lineups for the upcoming scoring period ... Tomas Holmstrom , who had hernia surgery Feb. 11, is eyeing a Tuesday return to the lineup. Still, he is a risky start since he has been idle for about a month. Holmstrom is more of a No. 4 Fantasy forward when healthy ... Valtteri Filppula has a goal in each of his last two games after going 18 games without a score. Dropping him from the second line to the third line seems to have taken some pressure off Filppula ... While top defenseman prospect Jonathan Ericsson has just one point in his first two games since his recall from Grand Rapids (AHL), the coaching staff has been pleased with his progress. However, Ericsson is only expected to play one more game before his demotion. He still remains more of a long-term Fantasy keeper ... Detroit has Phoenix, Calgary, Columbus and St. Louis lined up Week 23. They are averaging at least 3.00 goals against each team, but averaging 4.00 or better against the Blues, Coyotes and Flames. Consider starting your Detroit skaters.
Edmonton Oilers: Ethan Moreau is out indefinitely with an eye injury ... The Oilers have put J.F. Jacques, Kyle Brodziak and Zack Stortini together on the fourth line. They hope the trio will create good chemistry since they are all solid checkers, but their impact likely will have little Fantasy bearing ... The acquisitions of Patrick O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik spells doom for struggling forward Dustin Penner , who hasn't scored in nine games. Edmonton no longer has to be patient with the inconsistent Penner, who might be held off the top line for the rest of the season.
|1.||Flyers||BUF, WAS, NYR, @NYR|
|2.||Red Wings||PHO, CGY, @STL, @CLB|
|4.||Islanders||@TOR, @MON, @BOS, @CHI|
|5.||Wild||SJ, @COL, @DAL, @STL|
Florida Panthers: Defenseman Nick Boynton returned to practice Thursday after basically serving a team-imposed three-game suspension for arguing with coach Pete DeBoer. Boynton, however, was a healthy scratch Thursday against the Penguins, so newcomer Steve Eminger could get into the lineup ... David Booth also played Thursday after missing one game with sore ribs. He is still not 100 percent and it doesn't help his cause with just one goal and four assists in his last 14 games.
Los Angeles Kings: New acquisition Justin Williams met his new coaches and teammates Thursday and then the media after being picked up in a Wednesday trade with Carolina. However, the injured forward is still expected to miss two more weeks while recovering from a broken finger ... The trade of Patrick O'Sullivan forced coach Terry Murray to tweak his top scoring lines. Teddy Purcell took O'Sullivan's spot on the first line alongside Anze Kopitar and Alexander Frolov Thursday against the Stars, while. Michal Handzus moved up to the second line to play wing alongside Oscar Moller and Dustin Brown . Handzus really responded with his second career hat trick in a 5-4 overtime win ... Kopitar had one goal and two assists Thursday for his fifth three-point game of the season. Kopitar has three goals and three assists in his last three games after a three-game scoreless streak ... Defenseman Drew Doughty had two assists against the Stars after netting only one point (an assist) in his previous eight games ... Purcell has one goal and two assists during a three-game point streak ... The Kings are in the same boat as Anaheim in Week 23. They face only the Canucks (twice) and Sharks. Los Angeles was shutout 4-0 in their only appearance against Vancouver this season and is averaging 1.25 goals in four outings against San Jose. Consider benching your Kings skaters.
Minnesota Wild: Injured forward Marian Gaborik is nearing a return from hip surgery, but he isn't expected to start skating with the team until next week at the earliest and a return could still be a week or two away. He is not a recommended start for the upcoming scoring period ... Derek Boogaard is eligible to return from a five-game suspension Tuesday against the Sharks ... Forward Andrew Brunette is laboring through a knee injury. He continues to remain in the lineup, but coach Jacques Lemaire said he will be taking plenty of practices off down the stretch so he can rest as much as possible ... Marek Zidlicky had his first even-strength goal of the season Thursday against the Sharks thanks to the poor play of Brian Boucher . Zidlicky was just passed mid-ice when he flicked the puck toward Boucher on a line change. Boucher misplayed the puck and it skipped right through his legs for Zidlicky's 11th score of the season ... Minnesota has a four-game slate Week 23 with three on the road, where they average 2.10 goals per game (2.10). They are also averaging 2.67 or fewer goals against three of their opponents -- San Jose, St. Louis and Dallas -- so consider benching your Minnesota skaters.
Montreal Canadiens: Jaroslav Halak is the latest NHLer to be battling the flu, but luckily he only missed one game and was good enough to dress Friday against the Thrashers ... Carey Price started in Halak's place during a 5-1 loss to the Sabres Wednesday. Price is 2-9-1 since returning from an ankle injury in late January. In that stretch, he has a 3.91 goals-against average and an .873 save percentage, prompting coach Guy Carbonneau to lose faith in the second-year goalie ... Alex Tangauy, who had been out since late December with a separated shoulder, also made his return Friday. He is expected to add a huge offensive boost for Montreal down the stretch ... Georges Laraque is out of action again with a lower-back injury that kept him sidelined for six weeks post-Christmas ... Montreal general manager Bob Gainey was unsuccessful at trading forward/defenseman Mathieu Dandenault since teams weren't interested in picking up what's left of his $1.725 million salary ... Tomas Plekanec has been one of the NHL's hottest skaters as of late with eight goals and six assists during a nine-game point streak ... Montreal hosts New Jersey, Edmonton and the N.Y. Islanders Week 23. The Canadiens are eighth in home GFA (3.30), so consider starting your Montreal skaters.
Nashville Predators: In the past eight games the line of Steve Sullivan , Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont has scored 14 goals and totaled 35 points. But the real story is Sullivan, who is only 24 games removed from a back injury that sidelined him for two seasons. Sullivan is finally looking like his former self during a five-game point streak. He has four goals and five assists in that span ... Joel Ward ended a career-high four-game point streak (three goals, four assists) Thursday against Columbus ... Shea Weber ended his career-high point streak at five games (three goals, three assists). He is the only NHL defenseman with more than 30 points and 140 hits ... Martin Erat returned to the lineup Thursday after missing two games with a groin injury. He netted his 100th career goal and first since Feb. 5.
New Jersey Devils: Checking-line forward David Clarkson got into a nasty collision with teammate Johnny Oduya during Thursday's practice. Clarkson had a pretty big gash above his left eyebrow that required a doctor's attention. But the injury isn't considered serious ... While not banging up teammates, Oduya has been productive in recent games. Oduya, who had gone 15 games without a goal and had one in 32 games, has scored in two straight outings. He has two goals and three assists during a four-game point streak ... Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said he would do everything in his power to move goalie Scott Clemmensen , currently in the AHL since the return of Martin Brodeur , at the trade deadline, but the right deal never came along and the veteran goalie remains in the minors ...Center John Madden , who is more of a checking-line presence and faceoff specialist, hasn't scored a goal in 12 games and has one in the last 20 appearances.
N.Y. Islanders: Defenseman Brendan Witt is eligible to return from a five-game suspension Tuesday against the Maple Leafs ... Left wing Blake Comeau had a goal and an assist Thursday against the Rangers, giving him six points (five assists) in his last eight games ... The Islanders opted to keep veteran Dean McAmmond instead of flipping him in another trade and the former Senator continues to reward the Isles. He has two goals and two assists in six games since being acquired in a trade from Ottawa ... New York takes the road for games against Toronto, Montreal, Boston and Chicago Week 23. They rank 28th in road GFA (2.13), so it might be wise to bench your Islanders skaters.
N.Y. Rangers: New York showcased three new players Thursday against the Islanders -- Sean Avery , Nik Antropov and Derek Morris . Avery, returning after being banished from the Stars' roster for inappropriate behavior, played on the third line with Lauri Korpikoski . Antropov, picked up in a trade from Toronto, was on the second line with Chris Drury and Brandon Dubinsky . And Morris paired up with Dan Girardi and logged 2:37 of power-play time ... Drury has a goal-and-assist in two straight games and nine points in his last seven outings ... Zherdev also has a goal-and-assist in his last two games with a plus-5 rating ... Scott Gomez has a point in seven of his last eight games. He has four goals and five assists in that span ... The Rangers have three of their four games on the road next week. They rank 27th in road GFA (2.22), but have produced 10 goals in their last two games, so perhaps they are turning their offensive fortunes around.
Ottawa Senators: Dany Heatley is back to his scoring ways. Aside from owning a seven-game point streak (five goals, four assists), Heatley has failed to stat in just five of his last 16 games. He has 10 goals and seven assists in that span ... Defenseman Brendan Bell was placed on waivers Tuesday, but no one claimed him and he remains in an Ottawa uniform.
Philadelphia Flyers: It seems Daniel Briere is going to be plagued by a nagging groin injury the rest of the season. Just three games into his latest comeback from an injury that has kept him out 51 games this season, Briere had to exit the lineup Thursday against the Flames. However, Philadelphia reported that his latest setback is not as serious as first thought and Briere could play Tuesday against the Sabres. It's probably best to keep Briere reserved until he is healthy and producing at a high level ... Left wing Simon Gagne has recorded at least a point in four of his last five games and eight of his last 10. He has five goals and six assists in that span ... Philadelphia is home for three of their four games Week 23. They sit pretty at third in home GFA, averaging 3.68 goals. They are also averaging 4.00 or more goals against each of their opponents -- Washington, Buffalo and N.Y. Rangers (twice). Definitely consider starting your Philadelphia skaters.
|1.||Blue Jackets||BOS, PIT, @CHI, DET|
|2.||Kings||VAN, @VAN, @SJ|
|4.||Kings||@CLB, DAL, MIN|
|5.||Sabres||MON, PHO, @OTT|
Phoenix Coyotes: With Mikael Tellqvist now with the Sabres, 23-year-old Josh Tordjman takes over as Ilya Bryzgalov backup. Since Dec. 11, Tordjman is 20-11-1 with a 2.41 goals against average and a .918 save percentage for San Antonio of the AHL ... Steven Reinprecht, an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, wasn't moved at the trade deadline and reward Phoenix for their patience with Thursday's game-winner against the Bruins. It was Reinprecht's first goal since Feb. 12 and only his second goal in the last 17 games ... Scottie Upshall made a quick impression in Phoenix debut by scoring the equalizer against Boston.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Sergei Gonchar and his wife welcomed a baby girl into the world Thursday, the couple's second child. It forced the veteran defenseman to miss a game against the Panthers, but is set to return to the team and can be kept active heading into Fantasy Week 23 ... Center Sidney Crosby , however, returned to the lineup Thursday after missing four games with a groin injury and contributed a goal in a 4-1 win. He was flanked by new acquisitions Chris Kunitz and Bill Guerin . It was the first game the trio played together ... Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is on a roll. He has made 15 consecutive starts, winning five straight and 10 of 15. He hasn't allowed more than a goal in three straight outings ... Pittsburgh has three of their four games Week 23 at home, where they average 2.90 goals (14th).
San Jose Sharks: San Jose thought they dumped defenseman Kyle McLaren at the trade deadline to Philadelphia for a sixth-round pick, but the veteran failed a physical and was returned to the Sharks. He hasn't recovered from a hand injury suffered in December for Worcester of the AHL, where he has spent the entire season ... Goalie Evgeni Nabokov has missed the last four games with a lower-body injury. He is only listed as day-to-day, but if he can't play Saturday against the Canucks, he heads into Week 23 as an injury-risk start ... Mike Grier (knee) and Jeremy Roenick (shoulder) could be lost for the season with their respective injuries ... Kent Huskins , picked up in a trade with Anaheim, is set to debut Saturday for the Sharks. He has not played since Dec. 31 because of a foot injury ... San Jose has three of their four games Week 23 on the road, where they are averaging 2.87 goals (seventh).
St. Louis Blues: Goalie Chris Mason allowed five goals on 36 shots Tuesday against the Red Wings, after allowing just five goals on his 145 shots in his previous five games (4-0-1) ... The Blues will make themselves right at home Week 23 as they host Dallas, San Jose, Detroit and Minnesota. St. Louis is 17th in home GFA, averaging 2.79 goals. The Blues are averaging 3.33 or more goals against Dallas and San Jose, while averaging 2.00 or fewer against Minnesota and Detroit.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Still no word on the return of Mike Smith (concussion) and the veteran goalie is still hoping to make it back this season. Karri Ramo continues to see the bulk of work in net over Mike McKenna , who had the early nod when Smith went down ... Veteran forward Gary Roberts was waived Tuesday, but had no takers Wednesday. Tampa has not made a transaction involving the 42-year-old forward, but said they won't send him to the minors out of respect. It appears retirement could be on the horizon ... Paul Ranger and Andrej Meszaros underwent successful shoulder surgery in Birmingham, Ala., Tuesday with no complications or anything unexpected. They are still both expected to be out the remainder of the season, but ready in time for training camp next season ... Tampa Bay hits the road for games against Ottawa, Toronto and Florida Week 23. They rank 21st in road GFA, averaging 2.53 goals.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Defenseman Tomas Kaberle remained with the team at the trade deadline despite heavy interest from outside parties, but now he is day-to-day with a hand injury. Kaberle, who missed most of February with a broken hand, is a risky start Week 23 ... Niklas Hagman is still on the day-to-day watch as well with a head injury ... Toronto made the decision to bench Vesa Toskala for the rest of the season, so he could undergo hip and groin surgery. They brought in 34-year-old Martin Gerber to replace him, claiming the veteran off waivers from Ottawa. He was 39 seconds from posting a shutout in his Toronto debut during Thursday's 2-1 win against the Capitals ... Jeff Hamilton also made his debut Thursday after being signed as a free agent. Hamilton, who has spent the year with Chicago of the AHL, had an assist while playing on a line with Jason Blake and John Mitchell ... Toronto has three of their four games Week 23 at home, where they average 2.74 goals (19th). They are averaging 2.75 goals or better against each opponent -- Ottawa, N.Y. Islanders, Calgary and Tampa Bay -- so this might be a time to consider starting your Toronto skaters.
Vancouver Canucks: Alex Burrows inked a four-year extension Tuesday and responded with two goals in a 4-2 win against the Wild. He has five goals and five assists in his last eight games and has been playing well alongside Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin ... Defenseman Alex Edler has just one goal and one assist in his last seven games after getting nine points in his previous seven games. A reason for the slide could be Edler is playing with a hairline fracture in his foot as result of blocking a shot Feb. 15. He is not expected to miss any time and is wearing a brace on his right foot ... Pavol Demitra is also playing through an injury. He had the tip of his left pinky finger broken in a Feb. 24 loss to the Mattias Ohlund wasn't traded at Wednesday's deadline and it appears the 32-year-old defenseman will test the free-agent market after spending the last 11 years with Vancouver ... Mats Sundin doesn't have a goal in nine games.
Washington Capitals: Shockwaves were sent through the NHL Wednesday when Alex Ovechkin had to leave practice when he took a shot off his right skate. Coach Bruce Boudreau was certain the reigning MVP would play Thursday against Toronto, but he was scratched for just the second time in his career due to injury. However, he went through a full practice Saturday and the team then deemed him ready to play Sunday against the Penguins. As long as he doesn't miss the tilt with Pittsburgh, then Ovechkin is a safe play Week 23 ... Defenseman Tom Poti , who missed Tuesday's game with a groin injury, tired to play Thursday but lasted just seven seconds. He is back to being day-to-day ... Forward Alexander Semin has a goal in five straight games, tying his career-best streak. He has five goals and four assists in that span, while totaling 30 points (13 goals) in his last 26 appearances.
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